The small town you grew up in may have had its charms. It may have been kind of kooky. There may have been some characters on every corner, and there may have been a unique little something that makes your town special and unlike any other.
Well, your town's claim to fame is nothing compared to these places.
#4. Whittier, Alaska: A Town in One Building
Some people grow up in small towns where friends and families are tightly packed together, only a handful of streets apart at the furthest. The Alaska town of Whittier took that idea to an extreme and then made it vertical like a rural attempt at bringing Judge Dredd's Mega-City One to life: Whittier is a town of around 200 residents, most of which live in one 14-story apartment building.
And it only kind of looks like a crack house!
The Begich Towers is more than just a series of apartments, though; it's an entire community in a single building. It's home to the local police headquarters and the local post office. All local government operates out of the building, including the mayor's office. There's a laundromat, a grocery store, and a video store. If you're looking to get baptized, look no further than the church in the basement where the town pastor will dunk your head in a holy inflatable pool. If a resident wants to go on a relaxing stay-cation, they could stay at the bed and breakfast on the top floor and soak in all the exotic sights and sounds of being in the same place only slightly higher. There's also a health clinic that's probably been battling the same strains of cold and herpes since the 1950s.
The California Sunday Magazine/Reed Young
True story: the cops (who live and work in the building) busted a pot ring on the 10th floor.
They gave the growing equipment to the school for a garden.
One of the few necessities not in the building is the local elementary school, which is directly across the street. The problem is, the temperature in Whittier often approaches Witch's Tit-levels of cold, so students have to ride an elevator to the basement of the building and then walk to school via underground tunnel like mole people. Outside of that, there isn't much beyond the walls of the Begich Towers other than a few eateries and a bar and many miles of desolation. The community is so small, so compact, so tightly knit, there's a good chance one yawn could infectiously creep its way from the mouth of patient-zero to every other person in the building within minutes. Before you know it, the whole town is a little sleepy and they don't know why.
#3. Green Bank, West Virginia: The Town Without Tech
There is a town in West Virginia that has banned nearly all of the ubiquitous gadgets and gizmos of the modern world. Cellphones, WiFi, microwaves, TV broadcasts -- any technology that transmits is not permitted, by law. The town even has its own anti-tech police force of one: a dude in a van filled with equipment meant to detect and hunt down electronic signals emanating from anything from an iPhone to an electric blanket. It's not a town that's been taken over by a powerful militant Amish army that imposed its draconian will upon the innocent residents of a sleepy town in the middle of nowhere. It's all because of a telescope -- and not one of them cheap shits you can find next to the Nerf guns at Target -- a really powerful telescope that can see far beyond the galaxy.
The stone penis stands at attention as the robot high-fives the tiny metal lady.
That's the Green Bank Telescope. It's the world's largest fully steerable radio telescope, which means it can either be easily rotated to get a view of up to 85 percent of the entire celestial sphere above it or that it's an especially large car. It's also highly sensitive, able to detect tiny radiation signatures across space. That's why Green Bank can't have nice things -- all the signals emanating from the fancy doodads around the telescope could obscure its line of sight. Imagine you're a creep and you secretly snap pictures of hot chicks from afar with a long camera lens in your off-time. A tiny leaf in your line of sight wouldn't just be a small distraction; it would be a massive blob that completely obscures your view of the ladies.
Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
"Is that ... a dwarf star? Wait: who pointed this thing at a bag of marshmallows?!"
A cellphone signal can interfere with the telescope. The spark plugs in gas-powered engines would be too disruptive, so everyone drives diesel-powered cars, because they don't have spark plugs. Green Bank has only one microwave, and it's locked in a cage that dampens its radioactive signatures. Flipping through the radio dial will result in station after station that plays 24/7 blocks of your favorite hits, such as "Nothing" and "Dead Silence" and "Hey, I think I Got Somethi- ... No, Wait. It Was Nothing."
And yes, people actually live there. Some of those people move there specifically because it's within the National Radio Quiet Zone. Over the years, Green Bank has become something of a safe haven for people with electromagnetic hypersensitivity, a sickness that's brought on by the electromagnetic waves emitted by pretty much everything that has electricity running through it. It also might be complete bullshit, which is why so many of Green Bank's natives hate all the electromagna-sensa-whatevers flocking to their little tech-less town.